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The millstones of ancient Pompei; a petro-archaeometric study

Luigi Buffone, Sergio Lorenzoni, Mauro Pallara and Eleonora Zanettin
The millstones of ancient Pompei; a petro-archaeometric study
European Journal of Mineralogy (February 2003) 15 (1): 207-215


This study concerns 47 hourglass and 25 rotary-hand millstones from Pompei. All of them are made of volcanic rocks. Most samples were chemically analysed and all were studied by optical microscopy. Out of the rotary-hand millstones, 20 are composed of leucite basaltic trachyandesites belonging to the oldest eruptions of Somma-Vesuvius, 4 are mugearites and hawaiites from Etna, and 1 (of uncertain provenance) is a leucitic tephriphonolite. Among the hourglass millstone samples, 29 are leucitic phonolites from the Orvieto quarries discovered by Peacock (1986), and 18 are leucite basaltic trachyandesites identical to the rocks making up the rotary-hand millstones. The typology of the hourglass millstones varies between the different manufacturing areas. According to the morphological classification we propose here Orvieto millstones belong to the A type and Somma-Vesuvius millstones to the B type. Therefore, our research demonstrates that millstone trade was frequent and important in Roman times.

ISSN: 0935-1221
EISSN: 1617-4011
Serial Title: European Journal of Mineralogy
Serial Volume: 15
Serial Issue: 1
Title: The millstones of ancient Pompei; a petro-archaeometric study
Affiliation: Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei, Italy
Pages: 207-215
Published: 200302
Text Language: English
Publisher: Schweizerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung (Naegele u. Obermiller), Stuttgart, Federal Republic of Germany
References: 25
Accession Number: 2003-026011
Categories: Quaternary geologyIgneous and metamorphic petrology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 4 tables
N40°49'60" - N40°49'60", E14°25'60" - E14°25'60"
N40°49'00" - N40°49'00", E14°25'60" - E14°25'60"
Secondary Affiliation: universita di Bari, ITA, Italy
Country of Publication: Germany
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2020, American Geosciences Institute.
Update Code: 200309
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